Throughout the centuries since Valentine received martyrdom there have been various basilicas, churches and monasteries built over the site of his grave. Therefore, over the years, many restorations and reconstructions took place at the site. In the early 1800’s, such work was taking place and the remains of Valentine were discovered along with a small vessel tinged with his blood and some other artefacts.
In 1835 an Irish Carmelite by the name of John Spratt was visiting Rome. Apparently his fame as a preacher had gone before him, no doubt brought by some Jesuits who had been in Dublin. The elite of Rome flocked to hear him and he received many tokens of esteem from the doyens of the Church. One such token came from Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) and were the remains of Saint Valentine.
On November 10, 1836, the Reliquary containing the remains arrived in Dublin and were brought in solemn procession to Whitefriar Street Church where they were received by Archbishop Murray of Dublin. With the death of Fr Spratt interest in the relics died away and they went into storage. During a major renovation in the church in the 1950s/60s they were returned to prominence with an altar and shrine being constructed to house them and enable them to be venerated. The statue was carved by Irene Broe and depicts the saint in the red vestments of a martyr and holding a crocus in his hand. Hand-painted replicas of this statue are available in our Church Shop.
Today, the Shrine is visited throughout the year by couples who come to pray to Valentine and to ask him to watch over them in their lives together. The feast-day of the saint, February 14, is a very popular one.
Prayer to St Valentine
true servant who shed his blood
in defence of the sacraments and faith in Jesus Christ,
intercede for us today, we pray.
Gain for us the strength to be steadfast like you
in witnessing to the true faith to the end of our days,
and help us never to lose hope in the Lord
who is always near us.
Intercede for those men and women who are preparing for marriage:
help them to know one another and the true meaning
of the sacramental bond they are preparing to enter.
Intercede for those who are joined together
in the sacrament of marriage,
that they may never give up when trials come their way
but may remain faithful to each other,
and to the Lord who blessed their union.
May your love for the Lord be an inspiration for
our love for each other, for the love between husband and wife,
and for the love and charity we extend to all whom we meet.